Thursday, April 20, 2006

MRI and other torture devices

I never thought I had issues with claustrophobia. I've been in some pretty small places for extended periods of time with no adverse effects. They had to wake me after my PET scans (both of them). I was a Cub Scout den leader for a total of 6 years, so it certainly can't be the volume that got to me. I think it was the pitch - one particular pitch, a pitch that even determined Cub Scouts can't quite manage.

Lack of confidence in the tech didn't help either.

"Does this" she said, indicating inch high red letters stating LATEX ALLERGY, "mean that I need to find some different gloves?"

It was all I could do not to say "Well duh!" Instead I said "Maybe I should just get out my Epi-pen now." She got the gloves.

"Ok, lie down on the platform and put your head in the cradle. We'll be putting a helmet on your head."

It's not exactly a helmet, folks. It's more like a cage. With bars. VERY close to your face.

The first scan took 20 minutes.

The first 18 minutes wasn't too bad. I made the mistake of opening my eyes on the way in. Bad idea.

After that, I kept my eyes closed and focused on breathing. In. Out. In. Out. In. Out. Slower. Slower. Don't hold your breath.

It wasn't too bad until the frequency of the sounds changed, along with the vibration around and under me, I experienced about 2 minutes of sheer panic. There was an overwhelming urge to scream. I'd been warned not to lick my lips. The only thing that kept me from screaming was fear that they'd have to repeat the whole thing if I did.

The tech didn't plan to pull me out between the first and second scans. She just wanted me to stick out my arm so she could inject the contrast. We compromised. I didn't move, but she hauled me out so I could open my eyes and look at the ceiling until I stopped hyperventilating. THEN I stuck out my arm and let her inject the contrast.

Other things I wish I'd known: as with many types of contrast, this one caused an odd metallic taste sensation. It passed within a few minutes, but I hadn't expected that and it was disturbing. It also made my tongue feel thick - but only briefly. That's scary when you're deep in a narrow tunnel and can't even talk because talking would mess up the scan.

Oh and the scan was essentially normal. A few "age-related" scattered ischemic areas, but aside from that, nothing to worry about. Back to the ENT for the diagnosis which is.......Meniere's

Could be MUCH worse. This is treated with diuretics (but I don't tolerate the drug of choice) and a low sodium diet. I whined at first, but since I haven't had any episodes of vertigo since I started cutting back on sodium, I've decided I need to give that up.

A friend helped me locate some low-sodium cottage cheese - funny what you miss when you're told you can't have it. Now if I could just find a low-sodium Caesar salad dressing to go with that, I'd be really happy. Recipes appreciated.


Lady Rose said...

I've had MRI's -- not pleasant.

Try Healthy Heart Market for a lot of low sodium foods (even pickles).

Lady Rose said...
Low Calorie Caesar Salad with lower sodium content then original recipie

hope that helps

Judy said...

Thanks so much for the links especially for that Caesar dressing recipe.

Anonymous said...

If you're on a low-sodium diet, how do you get iodine in your diet?

Judy said...

Iodine? Seafood, of course. Many multivitamins contain iodine, too, but I eat seafood often enough I'm not concerned about it.

Anonymous said...

And you are not even autistic!